John Edwards about to crash and burn in a blaze of hairspray

According to the A.P. John Edwards billed his campaign for two $400 haircuts. His vanity will be fodder for late night comics, but his stupidity for billing his campaign for this may cost him the nomination.

John Edwards has already come under fire for being the champion of the poor while living in a multi-million dollar house. But America has had many examples of wealthy presidents addressing poverty. They tend not to hold wealth against candidates. But blatant displays of elitism are frowned upon.

Many people will scratch their own perfectly presentable $15 haircuts and wonder why John Edwards needs to have a personal celebrity barber (aka “hair stylist”) who apparently is the only one he trusts near his follicles.

I assume other politicians spend hundreds of dollars for their haircuts. No doubt some enterprising reporter will research the amount everyone from the president to first term members of Congress spend for haircuts, and it may turn out that even Senator Jon Testor’s crewcut cost a few hundred bucks.

But no one will accuse Senator Testor of not being manly. Edwards, however, already has the reputation of being a preening metrosexual.

Why not throw a juicy steak to the hungry rapid pit bulldog Ann Coulter, who called him a faggot:

FEC records show Edwards also availed himself of $250 in services from a trendy salon and spa in Dubuque, Iowa, and $225 in services from the Pink Sapphire in Manchester, N.H., which is described on its Web site as “a unique boutique for the mind, body and face” that caters mostly to women. Article

The facts about the visit to the Pink Sapphire visit are spelled out at the end of the article, but many people won’t bother to read that far if they even bother to read beyond the headline.

Pink Sapphire co-owner Ariana Franggos said the two payments last month_ $150 on March 7 and $75 on March 20 — were for doing Edwards’ makeup for television appearances. She handles makeup for local television personalities and was referred to Edwards through that connection.

“This poor guy. I’m telling you, I promise he’s not in here getting facials and cucumber peels on his eyes or anything,” she said.

But come on, can you imagine Karl Rove letting candidate Bush go anywhere near an establishment named the pink anything?

There are many reasons Senator Kerry lost the presidency, but the photos of him wind surfing cast him as a member of the elite out of touch with “ordinary people” despite the fact that this sport is both difficult and not that costly. It was the imagery that hurt him.

Both President Bush and Senator Kerry probably wore tailored suits costing thousands of dollars during the campaign, but who did millions of citizens say they’d rather spend informal time chowing down BBQ with?

A Question of Judgment and Ethics

Okay, it’s been established that John Edwards feels he needs to spend more money on a haircut than it costs to feed a family of four for several weeks. But billing his campaign, or specifically, his campaign contributors, for this raises serious questions about his judgment and to a lesser extent his ethics.

Of course any Democrat will be under the microscope of right wing media, but by billing his campaign for the haircut, let alone even getting such an expensive haircut, Edwards has hurt his quest for the presidency because now the mainstream media has picked it up with headlines like:

“Edwards Haircuts Cost a Pretty Penny”, (Assoicated Press)

“Democratic Hair Apparent” (LA Times)

“His ‘Dos Don’t Come Cheap” (Dallas Morning News)

“Edwards shells out for designer hair” (News and Observer)

“John Edwards staying dapper with spa visits, $400 haircuts” (Denver Post)

and the pithy

“Hairy John” (Fort Wayne News Sentinel)

Even the snarky left-leaning website Wonkette ran a story titled “John Edwards Twice as Gay as Bill Clinton” as Clinton made the news in 1993 because he got a $200 haircut.

As far as ethics go, this makes me wonder whether it even crossed his mind whether his campaign contributors would want their donations spent this way. I don’t see this as a huge ethical transgression, but when you run on a platform that includes bringing integrity to the presidency you want to be beyond reproach. If I gave $400 to a candidate I sure wouldn’t want to think my entire contribution went for a haircut.

When something candidates do has their supporters saying “what could they have been thinking?” you have to question their judgment.


  1. Ardie

    If I were Edwards’ advisor I would make the hair his campaign theme. Just before he gets ready to speak he should pull out a comb and comb his hair.

    Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win By fearing to attempt. — William Shakespeare

  2. Carl Nemo

    Re: comments by packwidget et. al

    “Something insignificant that can bring a “good guy” down”…?! Unless you know the guy personally and have so for many years you are like the rest of us; i.e, we don’t know anything about Edwards other than what is projected to the public by his handlers. All of the candidates are nothing put roadside billboard ads with smiling faces looking down upon the passing motorists. Most of them have the depth of that same billboard too, an inch thick or less…!

    As far as feeling sorry for him because he has a sick wife and kids and using that as an apologia as to why anyone should vote for him is ludicrous. We are electing someone to the Presidency of the United States. I want someone that is reasonably honest, doesn’t have a bunch of ugly crap in their closet, is in good health, and has a family stituation that will not be a distraction concerning his or her fiduciary responsiblity to “we the people” of the United States of America while holding the office of president. The office of the president is supposed to be a serious undertaking and the choosing of this individual cannot be predicated on a bunch of boo-hoo, sympathetic nonsense. Anyone who votes for Edwards because they have empathy/sympathy for his wife’s physical condition doesn’t have all their oars in the water.

    Just think of what we’ve suffered under Bush for the past six plus years. Once they are elected we are stuck with them for at last four years. I wish we had a quasi-parliamentary form of government where at the two year mark a vote of confidence was put to electorate. If they fail the vote of confidence, then it’s time to call a new election. The world is too dangerous and we can no longer aford to get stuck with a “pig in a poke” for four years. It should be the same for House reps and Senators too. At the halfway point the people should get to vote on their performance. This would keep them definitely on their toes and the influence peddlars off balance.

  3. packwidget

    Who cares how much he pays for a haircut? The issue is, can he do a good job for this country? We have a spoiled rich president now, one responsible for the deaths of half a million people. A haircut isn’t even in the same league as what Bush did to the poor people in New Orleans after Katrina. He’s still doing it to them. People often focus on something insignificant that can bring a good guy down…because, after all, we can’t have a good guy in the White House, now can we? When we do, they get crucified for things that are irrelevant to their job description.

    John Edwards’ wife if terminally ill. He has young children. Does anyone care about that? At this point I’m not sure who I’m voting for. I think a Clinton/Edwards ticket would be great. But regardless of who I vote for I’m sure Edwards is a good guy. One of the best. Everyone needs to gain a little perspective here.

  4. Gerald Sutliff

    I agree that’s a matter of poor ‘political judgment’.
    It’s hurts. I say that as a fan.